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Rainforest World Music Festival 2024 to Celebrate Music, Sustainable Tourism

Date Published
March 27, 2024

Performers take the stage at last year's Rainforest World Music Festival. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board

The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is going beyond music this year as it returns for its 27th edition with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and conservation.

Slated on 28–30 June in Kuching in Malaysia, the festival will be headlined by Grammy award winner Kitaro and award-winning Malaysian singer Dato’ Zainalabidin. In total, the festival will feature 20 acts, comprised of 68 international musicians and 63 local.

This year, the festival is themed “Evolution” to emphasize its expanded mission. “The Rainforest World Music Festival 2024 transcends its role as a mere music festival; it embodies the theme of ‘Evolution,’ where sustainability, responsible tourism, and cultural exchange blend in perfect harmony to converge,” said Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts YB Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at the festival’s launch in Kuching on 22 March.

Sarawak Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor also touted the festival’s theme during the launch. “The theme goes beyond the melodies and rhythms that have enchanted audiences for nearly 3 decades. Under the theme of ‘Evolution,’ we are weaving together threads of sustainability, responsible tourism, and environmental stewardship into the very fabric of this beloved festival.”

She added, “With the evolution of RWMF, we are transforming the festival into a dynamic platform that advocates sustainable practices in tourism and conservation, paving the way for the next 25 years of this festival.”

Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts YB Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (middle) at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2024 official launch. Joining him are (from left) Sarawak Tourism Board CEO Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor, Sarawak Tourism Board Chairman Dato Dennis Ngau, Deputy Minister For Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Deputy Minister For Tourism Sarawak Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew, Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak Datu Sherrina Hussaini, and Hemisphere Corporation Sdn Bhd CEO Mark Ferguson. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board

Strong lineup

The festival has a strong lineup of performers.

Kitaro won the best album in the new age category during the 2001 Grammy’s. He has sold millions of records and is one of the founding architects of new age music.

Zainalabidin has won multiple awards from the Malaysian music industry. His song, “Hijau,” was one of the first few songs in Malaysia to be categorized as world music when the genre was still relatively new in the country.

Sarawak, the festival’s home state, will be represented on stage by singer-songwriter Belle Sisoski, who uses music to raise awareness about indigenous rights, the environment, and the need to preserve traditional ethnic instruments. Through her music, she introduces the younger generation to the rich variety of Sarawak’s traditional instruments.

The festival will also feature Borneo Collective, which is comprised of Sarawak’s masters of traditional instruments backed by an ensemble of world-class musicians from all over Malaysia. The ensemble consists of Malaysia’s Living National Heritage artists, Matthew Ngau, Jerry Kamit of Tuku Kame, Joe Gendang, Ezra Tekola of At Adau, among others. The Living National Heritage title is conferred to individuals who have contributed to the country and society.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy performances from Adrian G (West Malaysia), Alena Murang (East Malaysia), Nisa Addina (East Malaysia), Salammusik (West Malaysia), The Colour of Sound’s Malaysia (West Malaysia), Tuni Sundatang (East Malaysia), and Zarul @OurBodySound (West Malaysia).

Other international acts include Alright Mela Meets Santoo (Pakistan/France), Bourbon Lassi (Australia/Malaysia), Imarhan (Algeria/France), Krakatau Ethno (Indonesia), Nini (Taipe,China/United States), Rizal Hadi and Folk (Indonesia), Rhythm Rebels Featuring Selonding Bali Aga (Indonesia), and Tribal Tide (Singapore).

Ticket options

Ticket sales will open mid-April.

For adults, a 3-day pass sells for 635 ringgit ($134), while a day pass costs 235 ringgit for early birds and 283 ringgit during pre-sale. Door sale for a day pass costs 333 ringgit.

Tickets for children aged 3–12 cost 80 ringgit, while admission is free for children below 3 years old.

Attendees will be provided with comfortable sitting areas using sustainable materials in line with the festival's environmental ethos. 

For more information and ticket bookings, visit the Rainforest World Music Festival 2024 website.